We all know the goal is to rank higher than your competitors on Google and the other search engines as well. You constantly hear the latest buzzwords for search engine optimization and how your missing out on sales, if you’re not “choosing the best keywords.” Enough with the buzz, bells and whistles – here are full proof guidelines you can use to improve your keyword research for Internet marketing RIGHT NOW.

Keyword Research

First things first, you must contemplate relevancy of content, search volume and difficulty in rankings. Since we absolutely optimize websites for the reader first, you must consider if the keyword you want to rank for is relevant to the content on the page you’re looking to rank. Then evaluate the search volume for that keyword. You will want to use the local monthly search column in your favorite keyword tool. Once you identify a keyword with enough search volume you’ll want to check the competitiveness of that keyword. Now you most likely won’t strike gold on the first keyword you select so once you complete the steps above, you can wash and repeat!

Tip: When starting your research for keywords, try to stay away from broad keywords used in your industry.

For example if you sell office furniture and more specifically are looking to rank your office chair page, try to identify what’s called a long tail keyword like “ergonomic office chair” or “best ergonomic chair.” What is a long tail keyword you say? Simply explained a long tail keyword is a unique search that consists of two or more words. Ideally the more words the better as long as the search is accompanied by search volume.

How Keywords Can Hurt

Have you ever tied to get one over on Google? You want to rank for a specific keyword, so you decide to stuff it in the copy, as many times as possible, thinking this will improve your rank. If this is you…STOP! Google and other search engines are on to you and are actually devaluing your website at this moment. Remember your content must be relevant to the search. If you are lucky enough to get an organic click from someone searching the keyword your trying to rank for and he or she get to your webpage only to find keyword nonsense, then prepare for the search engines to bury your website. Technically your CTR (click through rate) will plummet, and your bounce rate will sky rocket. Simply put, no one will search through your site, and the will leave before the website finishes loading.

Keep an organized spreadsheet that includes each page of your website and the associated keyword. As your website grows, this will eliminate the chance of using duplicate keywords. When multiple pages within your website are trying to rank for the same keyword phrase then the search engines just get confused, and have trouble deciding which page to display in search results.

Competitive Analysis

What is the competition doing? Find your 5 or 10 top competitors in your industry and analyze what keywords they are ranking for successfully. If you discover your competition is using keywords that you would like to rank for, then you will have to evaluate whether it’s worth your time. You can do this by assessing their domain and page authority for these keywords. Domain authority will determine the strength of the entire domain and subdomains of a website, and how they will rank. Page authority will provide insight into how likely a single page will rank. One of the best ways to do this research is with MozBar. If you notice that the competition has a high ranking for the page and/or domain, then a better move is to search for a variation of this keyword. Finding similar keywords or phrases with long tails that have less competition will be easier to rank on the first page of Google and will save you lots of time. Last I checked, we all could use more time in our lives.

So get out there and test the waters, or improve on your current SEO setup. If you take away only four words from this post then I hope its “Do your keyword research.” As always if you have questions or are in need of assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us here at PLUSH! Now let the research begin.

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